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Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology


Research has suggested that public confidence in the scientific community has become politicized, but it is not clear that liberals and conservatives disagree on the more fundamental question of what counts as being scientific. An analysis of General Social Survey data finds that political conservatism is negatively associated with an individual’s rating of sociology as being scientific. This association is not found when examining ratings of economics or biology. Education moderates this association, as the gap between liberals’ and conservatives’ ratings of sociology’s scientific-ness is greater among those with more education. Although research has demonstrated that trust in the scientific community has become politicized, these findings demonstrate that the perceived boundaries of science can also be influenced by political ideology.

Source Citation

Scheitle, C. P. (2018). Politics and the Perceived Boundaries of Science: Activism, Sociology, and Scientific Legitimacy. Socius.


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This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.

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